THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 5, 2022
It's time you did some of the work around here. Usually, I provide all the items and research contained in a column. For a change, this time around I am going to toss out some minimum information and let you do the follow up. Roll up your sleeves. Here we go.
As a bald guy, stories about hair tend to grab my attention. Have you ever heard of uncombable hair syndrome? It's a rare but real condition. “Uncombable hair syndrome is a genetic condition that usually affects children between the ages of three months to three years.” In essence, the hair grows in all directions and every which way. There is no way to comb or brush the stuff. More explanation and photos at: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/family/story/mom-raises-awareness-son-diagnosed-uncombable-hair-syndrome-83091244.
I read a lot and always have a book going. Because of this, I am an oddity. “Americans say they read an average of 12.6 books during the past year, a smaller number than Gallup has measured in any prior survey dating back to 1990. U.S. adults are reading roughly two or three fewer books per year than they did between 2001 and 2016. Seventeen percent of U.S. adults say they did not read any books in the past year. Americans who do read are reading fewer books. “ More statistics at: https://news.gallup.com/poll/388541/americans-reading-fewer-books-past.aspx.
Maybe one reason people are reading less is that they are not intrigued by a book right off the bat. If that's the case, perhaps “Twenty-eight Opening Lines In Literature That Are So Good, You'll Keep Reading” would be a good list to know. My favorite on the list is: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." I also liked: “I have no idea how to write this stupid book." The complete list is at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ehisosifo1/memorable-opening-lines-in-books.
If you read on an electronic device, battery life is a concern. If so, your worries may be over. “Researchers in Germany have created a new self-assembling battery small enough to fit into a computer the size of a particle of dust. The battery is less than one square millimeter across and is capable of powering small devices for hours at a time. These tiny batteries could be very good supplementary power sources for micro-robots or micro-implantable devices.” And they assemble themselves? Review the science at: https://www.vice.com/en/article/epxmjz/the-worlds-smallest-battery-assembles-itself.
Still with scientific research, There's interesting work being done related to singing. “Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered that a specific set of neurons located in the auditory cortex in the brain respond to singing but not other sounds like speaking or instrumental music. They tested fifteen participants’ responses to one hundred sixty-five different noises, including toilet flushing, road traffic, instrumental music, speaking and singing. Some neurons responded almost exclusively to singing.” More melodic musings at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/some-neurons-in-your-brain-respond-to-singing-but-not-other-music-180979633/.
Polls are enlightening on occasion. YouGovAmerica recently noted: “The U.S. constitution specifies a minimum age requirement of twenty-five for the House of Representatives, thirty for the Senate, and thirty-five for presidents, but does not address a maximum.”
With this in mind, they polled Americans. “More than half (fifty-eight percent) said that there should be a maximum age limit, while twenty-one percent said there should not be.” Results and graphics at: https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2022/01/19/elected-officials-maximum-age-limit-poll.
If you're into true crime stories, there's one going on right now. It has greed, corruption, gangs, violence, cartels, and international intrigue. Of course, the focus of all this is avocados. “Avocados are sometimes referred to as green gold because of the price they command in international commodity markets. Exports of avocados from Mexico were valued at nearly three billion dollars in 2021, ahead of both tequila and beer, two other popular Mexican exports.”
How does this affect you? Less than one percent of avocados eaten in the U.S. come from places other than Mexico. Get the lowdown at: https://theconversation.com/how-mexicos-lucrative-avocado-industry-found-itself-smack-in-the-middle-of-gangland-177406.
Everyone likes a good dog story. Have you ever seen a green puppy? “A Nova Scotia couple found one in a litter of eight. “The rare discoloration is believed to be caused by light-colored puppies coming into contact with the green pigments from bile while in the womb.”
The challenge now is to name the pup. “Names being considered include Hulkette, Fiona, Wasabi, Lucky Irish and Pistachio.” See the cutie at: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2022/02/28/canada-green-puppy-Middle-Sackville-Nova-Scotia-Canada/9961646082427/.
Finally, would you like to live in a state of sin? “WalletHub compared the fifty states across forty-seven key indicators of immoral or illicit behavior. Our data set ranges from violent crimes per capita to excessive drinking to the share of the population with gambling disorders.” See the list from the most sinful state to the least at: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-sinful-states/46852.
Just to put your mind at ease, Michigan finished number twenty-two overall, so we're more sinful than some and more angelic than others. We also finished last in the “avarice” category because we have the lowest share of people with gambling disorders.
There is one category that might be of interest to that kid with uncombable hair syndrome – states with the fewest beauty salons per capita.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.
Most Sinful States
(Touch a state to see the ranking.)